Hey Y’all, and welcome to this month’s History post! It’s so exciting to be getting back to this series finally! Per usual, I will give my disclaimer. I am by no means a history/military expert. The posts are a sampling of information on a select topic, gathering information in one place that I wish I hadn’t had to hunt and peck for…or that I wish I’d known before writing on the subject! These posts are currently focusing on the ranks of soldiers from the War Between the states. You can view the previous Episode here, and the first episode here. You may access all of them by going to my Archives Page and scrolling down to History>The War Between the States. These posts are non-biased and apply to both armies. There, with that out of the way, let’s get cracking!
According to the North Carolina Museum of History, “A major was third in command of an infantry, cavalry, or artillery regiment and assisted the colonel in administrative and combat duties. In battle, an infantry major led the regimental attack, positioning himself at the front with the color guard. If the colonel and the lieutenant colonel were killed or wounded, the major took command of the regiment.”
The duties required of a Major are not as numerous as those above or below him, so to some, this may seem like he gets a smooth ride. We can be sure that was not the case, however. The Major was to the Colonel, what the Second Lieutenant is to the Captain, so he not only needed to be familiar with his duties but that of the Colonel as well in the event the Colonel was incapacitated. And as with the Lieutenant, the Major is the right hand to the Colonel.
Majors were generally entrusted with a command of more than one company, but less than a regiment. It could vary, but usually, two companies made up his command. The Major rarely gave commands of his own on the field, unless the Colonel was injured or killed. His job was to convey orders from the colonel and to assist in troop alignments on the field.
…And aside from some lengthy descriptions on how he is to take over for the colonel and how he could be court-martialed, I couldn’t find very much information on Majors 😊 While it doesn’t look like much, being an assistant to a Colonel is a full-time job. Once I get together the information about the Colonel’s duties, I’m sure we will see even more clearly just how much the Major did.
That’s all I have for you today! Sorry this post is so short, but hopefully, we will make up for it next time! Have a blessed day!
10 Totally Random Facts About…Second Manassas! // A History Post +An Excerpt from Our Heritage to Save!
At last, I have returned to this beloved series after…4 months! Wow…that’s a long time…
Anyway, today I am doing a post on the Battle of Manassas Junction, Virginia! But Ryana Lynn, you might say, You’ve already done a post on Manassas Junction! And you would be quite right! Here’s a link to my first post! But today, we are looking at the SECOND battle that took place in that unfortunate area. Unfortunate because who really wants to have ONE battle fought in their backyard, let alone TWO? And hang around at the end of the post for a tiny excerpt from my book, Our Heritage to Save, to learn an additional fact about the Battle!
1. Lightning Strikes Twice. Yep, people often say it doesn’t but it has happened…anyway… Second Manassas (Or Second Bull Run, if you’re from the northern side of the Mason/Dixon 😉) was fought on the same ground as the first major battle of the War Between the States, almost a year later! And it lasted a little longer too, beginning on August 28th and ending on the 30th.
2. Stonewall was Here! But unlike the first battle, where his was one of the last on the field, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s was the first command to arrive at Second Manassas…3 days early!
3. Same song, second verse. After the second battle I suppose the federal army decided it would be a bad idea to fight here again; they lost both battles fought at Manassas Junction to the Confederate Army.
4. Immortalized in Song. There is a hilarious song, written and sung by southerners, that goes through the laundry list of men who Lincoln put in charge of his Grand Army of the Potomac. (There were so many, it’s not even funny!) The commander for the Manassas Campaign was Gen. John Pope. The song is written as if it’s union soldiers singing it, making it even funnier to the Southern population. Pope and the Battle of Manassas were featured in the lyrics like this:
Then said Lincoln unto Pope, “You can make the trip I hope,
I will save the Universal Yankee Nation,
To make sure of no defeat, I’ll leave no lines of retreat,
And I’ll issue a famous proclamation.”
But the same dreaded Jackson, This fellow laid his whacks,
And made him by compulsion a seceder.
And Pope took rapid flight from Manassas’ Second fight,
‘Twas his very last appearance as a leader.
But to be fair, the southern author was kind to Pope in the chorus…
Then pull off your overcoat and roll up your sleeves,
For Stonewall is a hard road to travel;
Pope did his very best but was evidently sold,
For Richmond is a hard road to travel, I am told!
5. A New Commander. The federals weren’t the only ones with a different commanding general when Second Manassas rolled around. Instead of Joseph Johnston commanding Southern forces, General Lee was in charge. But the results were the same: Southern Victory!
6. Old Stomping Grounds. Stonewall’s first mission upon arriving at Manassas Junction was to destroy the Union supply depot there. After fulfilling this duty, Stonewall set about making camp…near to the very place where he had first earned the nickname Stonewall (though he always insisted the name belonged to the brigade who had fought with him that day).
7. Don’t Count your Eggs Until They Are Laid. During the fight, U.S. General Pope informed Lincoln that the victory was the Union. NEVER announce victory before you actually have it…you’ll have to eat your words…
8. Strike while the Iron is Hot! Stonewall believed in action. He was not one to sit around and wait for the enemy to attack him. Second Manassas showed that very well. Pope knew he was in the area, due to a previous fight with another command. But his men got within a few hundred yards of Stonewall and didn’t even see him until Jackson’s artillery opened fire on them.
9. It’s not the Size that counts. Jackson and his troops were outnumbered two to one during the battle. In fact, multiple times, the federals broke their lines. But in spite of being outmanned, Jackson’s men always counterattacked and plugged the holes. And it paid off; Longstreet reinforced them, giving them desperately needed man power to ultimately carry the battle.
10. According to the Numbers… There are a lot of similarities between the two Battles of Manassas Junction. But the numbers are not part of that. Around 63,000 federal and 55,000 Confederates were engaged in the second battle, almost but not quite double their forces from the first battle. At First Manassas, 2,896 federals were listed as casualties (mostly injured); at Second Manassas, their numbers were 13,826. The Confederates listed 1,982 casualties (again mostly injured) at the first battle. Those numbers jumped to 8,353 at the second battle. (Numbers taken from A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham, ©2011 by the author, All Rights Reserved)
And now…for the excerpt…which happens to spotlight one of my favorite facts about this battle!
From Chapter 22: He Fixed It, Our Heritage to Save
“Believe it, Joe. We’re out of ammo!” The young Southern soldier’s face was white with anxiety. “We just used our last two rounds. What are we gonna do?”
“Rocks!” someone yelled. “Use the rocks!” The boys looked down at the rocks on the ground.
“Can’t hurt trying,” Joe shouted, picking up a sizable one. He hurled the rock as hard as he could. The others standing around followed suit.
Meanwhile, a Union soldier was firing away as fast as he could. Suddenly, a hard object struck his rifle barrel. “What was that?” Another “thing” came flying, this time striking him in the shoulder. “Stones? Ahh!” A hail of the rock ‘bullets’ came raining down on him.
“Now I have seen everything!” his friend commented, picking a pebble from his hand. “Here we are, fighting our own countrymen in the middle of nowhere, and being battered by rocks!”
“Yeah, and they say Longstreet and Lee reinforced Jackson last night. This is insanity!”
Not as long as most of my excerpts, but if I put anymore…well, you know, spoilers…
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have a Blessed Day!
Taking a short break from 10 Totally Random Facts posts and introducing another set of Historical posts I’m excited to share! I love to see how God works in the lives of ordinary people, but also in historical situations. Today, I’m gonna share one that I love, the story of Dr. Max Rossvalley, a surgeon during the War Between the States. But it starts with a boy named Charlie…
(Quotes are paraphrases)
Sometime between July 1st and July 5th of 1863, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a drummer of only 17 years of age was severely wounded during either the fighting or skirmishes of the unsuccessful Confederate campaign. Carried to the camp for medical attention, Charlie was turned over to a Jewish surgeon named Max L. Rossvalley. Not many truly trusted the man, since he had been a scout for the Confederate Army before. No one knows to this day if Rossvalley indeed defected or if he was still secretly spying on the Federals from the inside.
Charlie was in a great deal of pain but refused to take chloroform or brandy for the pain, having promised his mother never to touch anything that resembled alcohol. The nurse and Dr. Rossvalley both urged him to take the medication, but he steadfastly refused. He was to lose his arm and leg, and Dr. Rossvalley knew he would more than likely die of shock. The boy said, “If you won’t make me take anything, I won’t
make a scream, I promise.”
He spoke with a chaplain, asking him to give his Bible to his mother. Then he turned to the doctor and told him he was ready.
Rossvalley was not a Christian, and drinking was a problem he didn’t try to deal with at this point in his life. He “braced himself” for the operation and headed in to remove the boy’s appendages.
The only sound the boy made the entire time was when he took the edge of the pillow between his teeth and said, “Lord, please stand by me now!”
The boy asked to see the doctor a few days later, and though he didn’t want to talk to the boy, he went to see him. The boy told him about Jesus, witnessing to him. Rossvalley said he couldn’t believe in Jesus, because he was Jewish. Charlie Coulson replied that his best Friend (Jesus) was Jewish. Then he asked Dr. Rossvalley to stay by his side and watch him die, trusting in his Savior.
Later that day, however, the boy’s pleading to see the doctor was rewarded and Rossvalley came back to him. Charlie told him that he had to say something. He said, “While you were amputating my arm and leg, I asked the Lord to save you.” With those words, he passed into the Presence of his Savior. And Rossvalley had indeed seen him die.
Years later, Rossvalley met a barber, who witnessed to him and impressed him with the sign on his wall that said, “Please do not swear in this room.” When he arrived home, the man’s words haunted him, and he couldn’t get away from them. At last, Rossvalley gave his life to Christ, including his desire for alcohol.
His wife was furious and left the house with their two children. She told the children never to call him father and never allowed them to read his letters. His mother and family in Germany disowned him, holding a funeral for him.
But God does move in mysterious ways.
Dr. Rossvalley’s daughter read one of his letters and felt moved by his words. She confessed her disobedience to her mother but begged her to read the message. As a result, Mrs. Rossvalley and the children were saved, and the family was restored.
But the story doesn’t end there.
While traveling, he stopped at a Church and heard a woman give her testimony. She was dying but wanted everyone to know she was ready to go. She was so excited to see her Savior and her son, who had died at Gettysburg following a double amputation.
The Chaplain had sent her a letter and his bible and informed her of his witnessing to his Jewish doctor.
Rossvalley stood and finished the story. “I am that Jewish Doctor that your son prayed for. And his Savior is now my Savior.”
What are the chances of such a thing occurring? Pretty big when God is at work. Mrs. Coulson gave Dr. Rossvalley Charlie’s letter and Bible, which he carried with him until his death.
Have a blessed day!
I enjoy a good non-fiction read! Today’s is a fun one that I borrowed from the library. It encompasses my favorite time period, the War Between the States!
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War
H.W. Croker 111
(Not sure Why the Cover is different than the book I borrowed...)
This one would have been a five star for me, but because of some language used in the quotes and occasionally in the text, I dropped my rating a little bit.
Overall: This book is a wealth of information on the American War Between the States. It gives semi-in-depth biographies of important generals, north and south. It also takes you through the war, noting important battles, little known facts and what would have happened if the South had won!!!
What I Loved: This book didn’t read like a text book. It was far more interesting. My Favorite parts were about Stonewall Jackson, Gen. McClellan, Nathan B. Forrest, and A.P. Hill. Really neat side-notes; hardcore southern reading. Many good quotes and interesting information. I loved how they didn’t avoid or justify the topic of slavery, while pointing it out as a national sin and how it really had no pull on the southerners as a reason to fight.
Two particular bad words stick out in my mind that were used about half a dozen times. If this had been my book, I would have blotted them out. Another thing that I found personally irritating was the length of the chapters. I prefer short chapters, and these were usually between 20-28 pages long.
Recommended for ages 16 and up for understanding.
Have a Blessed Week!
Hello and welcome back for my newest book related post. But …I’m cheating. 😉 I have only one actual research book to share today. But don’t despair! I’m going to include a few fiction titles to this list to round out the end of this series (for now anyway 😉). So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!
1. Manhunt: The Twelve Day Hunt for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson (Don’t currently have my book with me, it’s being loaned out, it’s that good!)
This book! It’s so good! Okay, so that sounds terrible, seeing as how this is about someone dying… Anyway, this is the best book I’ve read about the Lincoln assassination. It’s non-fiction written like a novel! (I think you call that narrative non-fiction…?) Anyway, Mr. Swanson spins an excellent narrative. At times there are bits of history that we just don’t know what happened. I think there were (I think) three days of the Manhunt when we don’t know what John Wilkes Booth was up to. What did Mr. Swanson do? He used it as a springboard for some background story on the Booth family! It was brilliant! Because of some of the details, I would recommend either editing it first or waiting until the reader is at least 16, depending on their maturity level. It’s very well researched! I’ve read it…3 times? And I’m going to be reading it again when I get it back, to refresh myself for the writing of my 5th book on the War Between the States! (Title is still under wraps!)
2. Iron Scouts of the Confederacy by Lee McGiffin
Okay…I did a whole post on this book, so I won’t reiterate here, but people! You need to read this book! It too is Narrative non-fiction, but not really a research book. It’s about Wade Hampton’s elite Cavalry unit and I just adore this book. This is another one I’ve read two or three times and hope to read again soon! Recommended for all ages!
3. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Okay, so this one will need editing. But, it is worth it. It’s language, not content. But this book I learned a lot from. It shows the struggle of duty and fear for a young soldier and how he overcomes what he feels is cowardice. I personally just wanted to tell him everything would be okay and your not a coward, you’re just young and scared. Even though he didn’t subscribe to my personal view of the War Between the States, Henry taught me a lot. It made me understand some of my own characters a little better.
4. Iron Thunder by Avi
This was my very first Avi book! It was written in First Person Point of View (POV) so that was so neat. The main character is Tom Carroll and his service aboard the USS Monitor. (There actually was a Tom Carroll aboard, but they make it clear, this is a different person ) While some of the talk about the south was offensive to me, I found it very intriguing to learn about the Iron Clads of the War Between the States. I would love to find a book like this about the CSS Virginia (which this book calls the Merrimac, which drives me nuts!) It was very informative and worth reading. Minimal editing needed, recommended for ages 8 and up!
So that pretty much wraps this series up for now! If I read anymore for my The Battle for Heritage Series research, I will let you know!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.